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New Hampshire GOP phone jamming case settles

[JURIST] The lawsuit brought against the New Hampshire Republican State Committee [official website] for the jamming of Democratic phone lines in the 2002 Senate race has been settled, according to a statement Friday from GOP state Committee Chairman Wayne Semprini. The New Hampshire Democratic Party [official website] filed civil suit [JURIST report] for compensation for the 800 hang-up phone calls that were placed to interfere with Democratic get-out-the-vote campaigns. The settlement comes just as trial was set to start Monday in Hillsborough County Superior Court on issues of phone system interference and compensation, after the trial judge dismissed 5 of the initial 8 counts [JURIST report] in the complaint. Democrats sought $4 million compensation for the cost of the seven-month voter turnout campaign, while Republicans wanted damages to be limited to the $4,974 spent on phone rentals and use. A judge ruled Wednesday that damages above phone rentals could be sought, though not the full $4 million, and that the Democrats had the right to allege that the phone jamming thwarted their efforts to increase voter turnout. The settlement amount has not been disclosed. In a statement [text] Saturday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party said that although the settlement "closes one chapter of the litigation stemming from the shameful and criminal Republican campaign to rob people of their fundamental right to vote, the federal criminal investigation will continue." AP has more.

Several key figures in the scheme to jam the phone lines received prison time for criminal charges related to the case. James Tobin [SourceWatch profile], President Bush's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, was sentenced to 10 months in prison [JURIST report] in May after being convicted in December 2005 for his role in the scheme. Allen Raymond, former president of Republican consulting group GOP Marketplace, received a five month sentence, and Chuck McGee, the former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party was sentenced to seven months in prison and $2,000 in fines [JURIST reports]. McGee admitted that he had paid a Virginia telemarketing company more than $15,000 in a scheme to jam Democratic Party phone lines with computer-generated calls. In November, Shaun Hansen, former owner of the telemarketing firm Mylo Enterprises Inc., pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to two federal counts of conspiracy to commit interstate telephone harassment. The election concerned was a off-term Senate race between Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican John Sununu [official website], who won with 51 percent of the vote.

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